A related "news" article - Government to review media policies for next GE By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia
THE Government will review the way it manages new media such as the Internet and podcasts and work towards a 'lighter touch' in the next election, said Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang.Call me paranoid.... but is that a promise or a threat?
Speaking at the 5th Annual PR Academy Conference on new media, Dr Lee said the Government accepts that Internet and new media are evolving and even more people will be net-savvy in five years' time.
'So our policies must also evolve. We will review our policies on the Internet and new media during the election period bearing in mind the changes taking place,' he said.
'Moving forward, we will consider how to better embrace these changes so that by the next GE, we may be able to adopt a lighter touch approach during the election period.'1. Why should there be a "touch" in the first place?
2. The "touch" that they had this elections obviously didn't affect many bloggers. So I'm a little confused here.
Dr Lee defended the Government's 'cautious' approach during the recent May 6 General Election, saying that certain restrictions must remain to keep the electoral process on an even keel.Even? Even? Since when have the opposition parties even approached the equality mark by five miles?
Election advertising, for example, was restricted to political parties and candidates.Which of course, wasn't carried by our reliable media.
'Were we wrong to have adopted a cautious approach? Here, I do not expect a consensus. But my assessment is that we were not wrong to have taken a more cautious approach,' he said.*proceeds to choke on her biscuit*
'While podcasts and videocasts for political advertisements were disallowed during the election period, political parties were able to make their presence felt in cyberspace making good use of their websites to publicise their programmes. This was on top of the ample coverage given by the mainstream media.'
Dr Lee said interest was also high in other areas such as in individual blogs, podcasts and videocasts. Many blogs ran commentaries, satires, polls, and photos of election rallies.Equally reliable and accurate as WHAT? The local media? Now that would be REALLY unbiased.
'The emergence of new media platforms and the fact that many of our young people are tech-savvy supported such intense interest. Many also see the new media as increasing the political space to speak up on the issues brought up during the election campaign,' he said.
'I accept that some will argue that we should let the people be the judge and form their own opinion by accessing all sorts of information and arguments. I agree that this is not without merit. But it is only valid when information available on the Internet is equally reliable and accurate.
'Hence we have adopted a cautious approach in engaging the new media during the election period.'And we come to the conclusion, the warning hidden within the sugary-sweet message. Next elections, we bloggers better watch out.
Dr Lee said said the Government adopted a 'light touch approach' in dealing with the everyday use of the internet and will continue to do so and accept that the Internet and new media will remain largely a 'free-for-all'.
'However during the election period when such free-for-all may result in undesirable situations, we cannot take a completely hands-off approach,' he said.